Qanda is a new app which invites you to ask your friends, idols, politicians, or anyone else, questions and, crucially – using selfie video – provides the opportunity for you and your subjects to share the answers. Anna Noble speaks to creator Martin Verpaalen about the potential of the app (currently only available on iOS) for journalists.
“If you could ask anyone, anything, what would it be?”
The openness of social networks like Twitter or the ability to find an expert on LinkedIn, might make you think that this is territory already covered. But how much do we really openly share our own ideas?
Unless you are hanging around New York and run into a photographer called Brandon (Humans Of New York), you are unlikely to be asked the questions that get you talking about your own ideas and knowledge in depth.
Can Qanda be the app to get people asking those questions?
The use of mobile video in responses aligns with the rising trend in young people watching and sharing content from mobile devices.
It’s also well established in journalism circles as one of the best approaches in interviews to get real, meaningful responses.
How does Qanda work?
By signing into a social media account like Twitter on the app you can search and select the person you wish to send a question to.
The interviewee is then sent the question with a link leading to the Qanda app, where they can record their response.
You can also ask an open question, to everyone.
The question asked becomes the title of the video. This ensures the video has context, making sharing across multiple platforms easy.
The question is limited to 100 characters and you have 30 seconds to record your video reply, potentially providing an alternative – or complement – to traditional street vox pops.
Indeed, the complexity of recording vox pops was what inspired Martin Verpaalen to create the app. While at a marketing agency Martin worked on a campaign for Lacoste, who wanted interviews with the actors and directors for social media:
“I needed equipment – camera, sound; I needed people to handle that equipment; I needed to schedule meetings for the interviews; spend time editing… before I could share.”
Beyond traditional media formats there are also obvious applications for citizen journalism: the ability to access celebrities, politicians, and experts could lead to interesting opportunities for audiovisual content.
No need to improvise
A built in teleprompter is an interesting feature of the app, based on the discovery by Martin that the technology was common practise among some public figures.
“Say you want to ask [David] Cameron a question: Cameron’s assistant would read the question and write a response on the teleprompter so Cameron could then read it on camera.”
Martin has also been encouraged by the responses they had received from media outlets about the feature.
What’s next for Qanda?
Qanda is currently testing a new revenue model on a sister app, which will keep their videos ad free.
“I really believe we can build a strong and sane business without putting ads inside the videos.”
Meanwhile Qanda are looking to develop their app further – once they have observed how people use the app – to make asking and answering questions as easy as possible. You can find them on Twitter @QandaApp
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